Champions League group play comes to a close this week, with several spots in the knockout round still up for grabs. Many teams have already qualified for the next round, or have been eliminated from the tournament, so be wary of squad rotation and keep an eye out for any value plays that could emerge once starting lineups are announced.
Fabri – $5,200 – Besiktas – Besiktas qualify for the knockout round with a win at Dynamo Kyiv, and could even leapfrog to the top of Group B depending on how the other game shakes out. Fabri came away with four saves and six points in a 1-1 draw the first time these two met, and with a spot in the next round on the line it wouldn’t be a surprise to see a motivated Besiktas team get the win, with Fabri topping double-digit fantasy points along the way.
Others to Consider – Alphonse Areola (Paris Saint-Germain; $6,000), Willy Caballero (Manchester City; $5,600), Ederson Moraes (Benfica; $5,000)
Faouzi Ghoulam – $5,800 – Napoli – Ghoulam is the second highest priced defender on the board but is one of few defenders in this bunch tasked with set pieces. He’s amassed 37 crosses in his last three UCL games, topping double-digits in each of those. Those big crossing totals make Ghoulam a safe cash game play in my opinion if you can find the funds for him. With Napoli looking to punch a ticket to the knockout round, another motivated effort from Ghoulam can be expected.
Juan Bernat – $4,500 – Bayern Munich – Two goals and a combined 42 fantasy points in two UCL appearances puts Bernat on the fantasy radar, even though both outbursts came against minnows FC Rostov. The big totals could cause inflated ownership, and while Atletico Madrid presents a much stronger opposition, Bernat usually The YouTube ID of Insert video URL or ID here is invalid. does enough to hit double-digit fantasy points regardless of if he finds the net again.
Others to Consider – Serge Aurier (Paris Saint-Germain; $5,300), Rafinha (Bayern Munich; $4,300), Gokhan Gonul (Besiktas; $3,800)
Angel di Maria – $8,800 – Paris Saint-Germain – With a chance to clinch first place in Group A, Di Maria is up against a Ludogorets team that he dropped 20 points on when they first met in September. He’s been held out recently with a lingering hamstring injury, but looks set to return to action in a favorable matchup against a team that has conceded 13 goals in five games.
Ricardo Quaresma – $7,700 – Besiktas – Besiktas control their destiny as a win puts them through to the knockout round of UCL but a loss or a draw could send them to the Europa League instead. Quaresma has been involved in six of their nine goals scored through the first five games (3 goals, 3 assists) and is a big reason why the Turkish club is still in Champions League contention. Highlighting his ability to rack up crossing points, Quaresma has swung in a combined 22 crosses over his last two Champions League outings, and has put up 19 or more fantasy points in four straight.
Others to Consider – Andriy Yarmolenko (Dynamo Kyiv; $7,800), Eduardo Salvio (Benfica; $6,900), Timofei Kalachev (FC Rostov; $5,100)
Lionel Messi – $10,400 – Barcelona – While Barca coach Luis Enrique has admitted that he’ll use Tuesday’s final Group C match to rest key players, he has confirmed that Messi will be involved from the start. Messi went for two goals and 32 DK points in his last UCL outing against Celtic and is up to nine goals across four Group C matches. He’s within two goals of Cristiano Ronaldo’s group-stage record, and considering he’s already struck for two group-stage hat tricks, we could see Messi add yet another record to his haul.
Sergio Aguero – $9,400 – Manchester City – Manchester City can finish no better or no worse than second place in Group C, and head coach Pep Guardiola has confirmed that there is sure to be some squad rotation. Aguero picked up a red card over the weekend and in-turn drew a four game domestic suspension, which makes this one of the last opportunities for Aguero to see the field in 2016. He hasn’t scored a UCL goal since he struck for a hat trick in the group-stage opener, but a matchup against a Celtic defense that has allowed 15 goals in five games presents a good opportunity for the Argentine to get back on track.
Others to Consider – Edinson Cavani (Paris Saint-Germain; $9,200), Kelechi Iheanacho (Manchester City; $7,000), Luuk de Jong (PSV Eindhoven; $6,600)
Nolito – $7,500 – Manchester City – One of the players that could benefit from Manchester City’s squad rotation is Nolito, who scored a goal on four shots and also swung in three crosses en route to piling up 20 points in a 3-3 draw at Celtic back in September. With usual set piece takers Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva strong candidates to be rested, it’s possible that Nolito could pickup the slack on corners and free kicks – giving an added bump to his strong upside against a vulnerable Celtic defense.
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is MONEYMACHiNE) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above.